The core of the Google Search mission is about organizing information and making it useful and accessible. As a result, people can discover and engage with your content quickly and easily. Conventional Search results appear as the “blue links” with text-based snippets that provide a written preview of the content on your site.
An organized search experience
As users' devices and context evolve beyond the desktop into the world of mobile devices and everyday tasks, Google Search is also evolving by providing rich search results that support users beyond the desktop: from making a reservation, to calling your business’s customer service number, to selecting the perfect chocolate cake recipe while at the grocery store. Through the Google App, we deliver information to users even before they query, helping them to re- engage with your content in moments that matter.
Google Search also delivers structured search experiences that respond to different user search intents—or types of queries. These responses range from lists of results for list-seeking queries to clustered facts for specific entity queries. For example, a list query for “chicken recipes” provides results that facilitate scanning and refinement, whereas an entity query for a movie like “Interstellar” can result in content grouped around that entity to encourage deeper exploration, such as showing critic review snippets from various sites.
The latest visual interface for all these experiences is a rich card, which is a layout for a single item or a list of items that that can deliver enhanced search results in a way that renders well across multiple devices and screen sizes.
How does search present rich results?
The Search process begins when Google systems crawl the web from link to link. Site owners control access to their content, which includes text and images, and Google sorts all the information in the Index and serves it up to users, using algorithms to improve the experience with features like autocomplete and contextual based signals.
In order to optimize your content appearance in the evolving Search experiences, it helps to understand your relationship with three key touchpoints in the Search flow.
1. Your metadata
Metadata is data that describes other data. This means details about the services and types of content you offer to Search users. Google obtains metadata from you in one or both of the following ways: directly from the markup you provide in your content, or by establishing you as an entity authority. Google uses content metadata and relevant authority data to power features in rich results and in Knowledge Graph cards.
- Content markup: As a content provider, you manage or own online content that you want Search to display in one of its rich formats, such as recipes, articles, or videos. For this purpose, you provide structured data markup for that content based on specific aspects such as ratings, images, and play actions.
- Entity authority data: An entity authority is a verified authority on a specific thing, such as an official website for an artist, a brick and mortar business like a restaurant, or an organization. You help Google see your business or site as authoritative via information you provide in Google My Business, or by registering and verifying your website using Search Console.
2. Getting into the index
Getting into the Search index begins when our systems find and access your content. This can occur without any extra effort on your part. Our crawlers follow natural links to your content and discover your pages, ingesting their metadata, and later correlate information from other sources, such as authority details.
This crawling process occurs according to schedules controlled by algorithms that determine content demand based on a variety of factors.
You can help our crawler discover your pages by providing a sitemap, which is basically a list of URLs to your content. You can prioritize discovery by providing URLs that are important for us to discover, such as pages to which you’ve added markup for specific features.
3. Your user’s search intent drives presentation
When you prepare your content for inclusion in Search, it can appear in a variety of visual forms, because it’s the user’s search intent that determines how Google Search displays information. A user’s search intent is a concept describing how our algorithms understand what the user really wants with a specific query within a specific context.
For example, if a user queries for “turkey,” the search intent is ambiguous, so our results will display a mix of items, including a Knowledge Graph card about the country of Turkey, news items on Turkey, and turkey as a kind of fowl.
However, if the query changes to “turkey recipes,” the search intent narrows to a list query, so a carousel of recipes helps to cluster related recipes together, including a summary carousel for recipes from various providers and a host carousel for recipes from a specific host.
As a content provider of recipes, you can mark up your content to make it eligible for single or multi-item rich cards for these kinds of search intents.
To make your content eligible for inclusion in rich search results, follow these steps:
Website managers should register their site with Search Console. This tool helps you optimize your site's performance in Search, and gain a better understanding of how our systems crawl, index, and serve your content. In addition, you’ll get access to enhanced reporting tools to make sure your content meets our guidelines and your markup is error free.
Brick and mortar business owners can register their business with Google via Google My Business. This can help you get your business location, content info and hours into both Maps and Search.
- Prepare your resources Whether you have a website or an app, you should first prepare your content and the resources that host it before sending us your data. This means using App Indexing for your mobile apps, creating mobile-friendly content or using AMP pages, and exploring and choosing the structured data markup that works best for your content or services.
- Get in the index
Google systems rely on access to your online resources in order to help users reach your content from the Google App or when they Search. Read more in the Introduction to Indexing.